Seal Makes Its Home 100 Miles Up the Hudson River in ‘Unprecedented’ First

by Matthew Memrick

Wildlife officials are amazed at a juvenile harbor seal’s 100-mile journey up to New York’s Hudson River to a new home, calling the trip an “unprecedented” first.

The officials have tracked Seal 246 from Maine to Connecticut to Rhode Island and now upstate New York.

It may be one of the few times a Yankee has decided to go back up north. Well, some have gone to the Carolinas (See below).

The Associated Press reported on the seal find.

Seal 246 Has A History

Officials say the semiaquatic mammal likely separated from his mother in Maine as a pup.

He made his way to a Connecticut rescue center, and officials put an electronic tracking tag on him and let him go in Rhode Island back in 2019.

In August of that year, the semiaquatic mammal ended up near the Saugerties Lighthouse in the Hudson River. The lighthouse keeper watched him for 620 days.

“It is a story like none we have ever heard of … a marine mammal showing such extended affinity and fidelity to freshwater,” said Tom Lake of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Almanac, The Kingston (N.Y.) Daily Freeman reported Tuesday.

Seal Goes Missing Again?

This particular semiaquatic mammal disappeared last April, and wildlife officials did not know what to think.

That is until he needed another rescue. Officials found the seal at Long Island’s Atlantic Beach with an infection and skin condition called “seal pox.”

The New York Marine Rescue Center picked Seal 246 up and released him last summer, thinking he’d go back out to sea.

But nature had other plans yet again.

The semiaquatic mammal went 210 miles from Hampton Bays back to the same lighthouse area near Saugerties. The lighthouse keeper noticed his seal friend returned in August.

Harbor Seals Go South For Winter?

It wouldn’t be the first strange trip for a seal.

Ryan Covil and Gianni Buffalino found a seal while exploring a barrier island in Hampstead, N.C. Typically, that would be about 1,000 south of where seals usually play.

“No one around here ever sees anything like this,” Chandra Covill told ABC News. “My son, who’s an avid fisherman and knows these waters pretty good, was shocked himself. It was amazing.”

The teenagers found the seal on Lea-Hutaff Island. ABC News reported that the teens caught it on photo basking in the sun on the beach. It was later caught on video returning to the ocean.

Jeff Harms, an educator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, told the news outlet that the semiaquatic mammal was likely a grey or harbor seal.

Those semiaquatic mammals are New Englanders, but Harms said, “a few migrate further south during winter every year to escape the ice up north.”